THE opposition MDC Alliance, led by Douglas Mwonzora, has resolved not to contest any by-elections following humiliating defeats in recent by-elections, NewsDay has learnt.
The party said it would only contest the 2023 general elections and has not fielded a candidate for the Masvingo West ward 21 by-election set for June 25.
The seat fell vacant following the death of Zanu PF councillor Tinago Mupinga on March 24.
MDC-A chairperson Morgan Komichi was yesterday evasive, and could not give the reason the party failed to field a candidate.
Komichi referred questions to the party’s secretary for elections Gandhi Mudzingwa whose number was not reachable.
During the March 26 and May 6 by-elections, Mwonzora’s party failed to get any council or parliamentary seat out of the contested 133. This was despite the MDC-A having caused the vacancies after it recalled more than 40 MPs and more than 80 councillors affiliated to Nelson Chamisa’s Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party.
The three candidates nominated for the June 25 by-elections are Zanu PF’s Chenjerai Mumbire, CCC’s Onias Mawarire and Sister Nhando, an independent candidate.
In a statement yesterday Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana confirmed the by-election.
“It is hereby notified in terms of section 125(4) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) that at the close of the sitting of the nomination court on Monday May 9, 2022, the candidates listed in the schedule were duly nominated for election as councillor in ward 21 of Masvingo RDC (rural district council). Accordingly, polling shall take place on Saturday June 25, 2022,” Silaigwana said.
Political analysts told NewsDay that Mwonzora’s party was avoiding further embarrassment.
Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said: “If they are going by empirical evidence of past performance, their instinct is that they are not fielding until they get their numbers correct. But that is the wrong strategy because if you don’t contest then you are exposing your weaknesses.”
Another political analyst Effie Ncube said: “They are obviously saving themselves from the obvious embarrassment that is going to come should they field a candidate. Their party is no match to the CCC, and people have moved to Chamisa. There is no question about that. The MDC Alliance has lost the show.”